Designing Websites for Kids: Trends and Best Practices

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Being able to design a good-looking news or online shopping website is one thing, but being able to design a website that children and teenagers find interesting is an entirely separate thing. Most websites are designed for adults; they are big on written content and not as focused on fun and interactivity.

When designing a website that will mostly be visited by kids and teens, it is extremely important to keep in mind that children are low on patience and they are always looking to have some fun. If your website has a busy design, loads slowly, has a couple of glitches, or any other slightly annoying issue, it’s pretty likely that children won’t spend much time on it.

Children and adults do have one thing in common; they both look for quality content. But, while adults might find things like reviews on an ecommerce website to be interesting, children prefer interactive and educational content like videos and games. Moreover, while adults feel more comfortable with darker shades, children like bright and bold color palettes.   

There was a time when children’s websites used to have a really busy design but thankfully, things have changed for the better. Here are some of the latest design trends and practices being followed today:

Designing for the age group that’s most important

Designing your website for children is not enough, to ensure that your website really engages them, you need to design the website according to the tastes of the age group that’s most important to your website.

Let’s suppose that the most important age group to your website is 9-12 years. If your website uses really bright colors, small and simple texts, and adds cartoon characters everywhere, it’s really likely that this age group will look at the website as too “childish” and quickly move on to something else.

Each age group has slightly different tastes. Let’s talk about ages 3-5 first. For such a young audience, you will need to use bright colors, a simple layout, as little text as possible, and make sure to add friendly looking cartoon characters. Use only the simplest interactive content for this group.

Talking about ages 6-8, they still prefer bright colors but the layout and images used on the website can start to get a little more layered and detailed. Only simple words should be used but one-word instructions can be replaced by small sentences. For this group, the interactive content should increase both in variety and number.

For the age group 9-12, you can start using bright as well as muted colors. Words should remain simple but you can add a lot more text to your website now. This age group also prefers more human-like cartoon characters. Feel free to use complex interactive content for this age group.

When making a website for the age group 13-16, bright colors are left out and the layout can get more traditional. Words start to get more challenging and you are free to add as much text as you want considering it’s presented in a readable manner. Replace cartoons characters with images.

designing websites for kids

Build a happy, welcoming environment

One thing common in all age groups of children is that they prefer fun over everything else. So, the only way you can make sure children will spend a long time on your website and remember to visit the site again is by making your website really entertaining.

Use happy and welcoming content. For example, you can add cute, smiley cartoon characters on your website. You can even add funny animations or catchy rhymes and songs that entertain the kids while also adding to their knowledge.

You can also convey the feeling of a positive atmosphere through the design elements of your website. The colors you use on your should be bright and high contrast. The font that you use for your website should be fun and easy to read. It helps if you use a font that gives off a “handwritten” feeling.

Your website’s interactive content can also be made more welcoming according to the tastes of the age group that you are making the website for. For example, for 13-16 year olds, you can add 2-5 minutes educational videos. For 9-12 year olds, you could add fun little games on the website.

Large design elements are your best friend

One of the design elements that have proven to have big impact on all kinds of web traffic is the large-sized elements. Whether it’s the large sized text, a big call to action, or a huge welcome screen, this design change can be noticed on almost all kinds of websites. This design improvement is especially useful when the target audiences of the website are children and teenagers.

The reason children are attracted to large sized design elements is because children prefer simplicity and recognizable words and objects. Hence, using a big and simple call to action or adding large buttons on your website can be a great way to engage children.

Another important design strategy to entertain children and keep them on your website is by adding a big animated character on your website. This character should “speak” and “move” according whichever link is opened or whatever action the user takes.

These are the most common design trends and techniques that experts rely on these days when making a website for kids. Be sure to try them out on your website!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jamal writes about the influence of social media on modern-day business activities. He’s best known for designing social media strategies for some of the well-known global brands. His recent interests are in helping a local footwear brand elevate their Peshawari Chappal sales using the power of social.

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